Paul Malek, "Dad," passed away Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, at his residence. Celebrate! Do not despair! This marks the end of the 90 year accomplishment-filled life of one of the few exemplary souls this family has ever known who spent his entire existence attending to the needs of others, rather than himself! He was born Dec. 13, 1921, in Little Falls, son of the late Jan and Zuzanna Majtan Malek. In ways none can accurately catalogue his life as a high school industrial arts,"shop" teacher at Onteora High School, positively influencing hundreds of students for over 35 years, as a Sokol gymnast, a New York Yankees-scouted catcher, a scratch golf pro and above all, as a tireless advocate for the basic human spirit and potential, will outlive him. The youngest, and last surviving of five children of Czechoslovak immigrants from the turn of the last century, Dad was the only college graduate in his family, an NYU-certified teacher, Olive volunteer fireman, baseball and golf coach, Boy Scout leader, summertime swimming pool-builder, accomplished fly-fisherman and natural stone jewelry maker. Dad had a good voice and loved to sing, and he could almost keep up to Mazie on the dance floor. Most of all, he was an endlessly giving human being. Dad was the sweetest, most caring and the most dedicated human being this family has ever known. He always had a kind of twinkle in his eye, especially on telling one of his dry, OK corny, jokes. But the beam on Dad's face was never brighter than when all his family surrounded him, which is all it took to make him happy. It's hard in the end to calculate what people's lives have amounted to, but our family assures, this world was lucky to have had Dad. We will miss him beyond words.
Mazie Thomson Malek, "Mom," passed away at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on Dec, 7, 2012. Crazy Mazie! Well, if the shoe fits. There was no point in arguing, Mom reveled in free association, not the tethers of rigorous analysis. She sensed things, knew them, didn't need to ask or elaborate. She preferred fun, but endorsed life, unbridled. And life took her on, seriously. Born June 1, 1920, in Bovina, daughter of the late Alexander and Thelma Thomson, Mazie grew up in the Great Depression, and learned the mindset of make-do and not to wear her heart on her sleeve, despite losing her father and their farm at age 8. Her mother left for nursing school, lacking other means to support her two surviving daughters. So Mazie and her younger sister grew up instead with a half dozen cousins on a dairy farm in upstate New York, raised by her grandparents, immigrants from Norway and Scotland. Mazie's mother, aunt and sister all became nurses. But Mazie, sensitive to the hazards of caring and loss, earned her degree in physical education from Russell Sage College. After the war, and a brief stint interning at a home for "wayward girls," Mazie taught PE at Wappingers Falls High School in New York, and coached both men's and women's team sports. That's where she met Dad, and they've been a team for these last 65 years. Good thing for us kids Dad was a good dancer, or we might never have come to be! Rarely seen in hoop skirts, serving tea or hosting Tupperware parties, Mazie was not the average housewife. She golfed, fished, swam, played ball and cards. She loved organic gardening, always reading about new ways to create pure and bountiful country harvests. A little shy to show it, Mazie had a gorgeous voice. We do remember her decked out several evenings a year, beaming and beautiful, emanating the essence of Chanel No 5 or Lilly of the Valley. But sports were key in her life, and Mazie liked the game, not just winning, something we struggle to make peace with in reflecting on her battles with macular degeneration, aortic stenosis and heart failure. Mazie had an uncanny way of seeing life in often hysterically simple, undeniable terms. A few of her axioms we still repeat: "If you keep doing things, something is bound to happen" and "The unknown is a strange thing." Mazie, you are irreplaceable. You've been a riot and an inspiration. You've taught us strength. You always said you wouldn't go quietly, and you didn't. Your incredible power of will and amazing spirit finally outlasted your tiny 5 foot tall, 100 pound body. But in the end, for all who truly knew you, you will always be, not the Crazy, but the Mighty, Mazie.
Page 2 of 2 - Surviving are daughter, Sandra Malek, of North Dartmouth, Mass., and son, Paul Allen Malek, MD, of Miami. Dad was predeceased by his siblings, John, Steve, Ann and Sam. Mom was predeceased by her sister, Thelma Eloise.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, at 10 a.m. from Chapman-Moser Funeral Home, Inc., 42 N. Ann St., Little Falls, with the Rev. Joseph Chamberlin officiating. Interment will follow in Holy Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Little Falls.
Online remembrances www.chapmanmoser.com.